Function of Cell Membrane | Structure with Diagram

The outer covering in an animal cell and the second layer in a plant cell is called the cell membrane. The unique structure and function of the cell membrane allow the cell to stay intact and perform its function easily.

Structure of Cell Membrane

The structure of the cell membrane is made up of phospholipids, proteins, carbohydrates, and cholesterol. They combine in a specific arrangement which is explained by the fluid mosaic model.

According to the fluid mosaic model, the cell membrane is a lipid bilayer in which proteins molecules are embedded. In cell membranes, carbohydrate molecules are found in two forms. Firstly they are attached to lipids to make glycolipid and secondly they are attached to the protein to make glycoprotein.

Diagram of cell membrane along with explanation.

Functions of Cell Membrane

The cell membrane performs the following functions.

  1. Barrier: It is an elastic and thin layer that encloses all the cytoplasmic material of a cell. It acts as a barrier and protects the cell from external damage.
  2. Movement of materials: It is a semi-permeable as well as a selective membrane allowing some molecules to go inside and some molecules cannot enter.
  3. Cell composition: It maintains the cell composition and prevents any leakage.
  4. Sense components: It senses external molecules and helps in sending signals to other cells.

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